Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review: Undertow by Michael Buckley

Book #1 of the Undertow Series
Genre: YA Fantasy Sci-Fi
Publication: May 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Acquisition: Bought

Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders.
(from Goodreads)

5 / 5 Stars

I've been a Buckley fan ever since I devoured his Sisters Grimm series and I have to say, I was a little worried about Undertow, being his first YA book and all. Happy to report my fears were unjustified because this book rocked!

I really like this book. Like, I like like it. Like if this book and I went to middle school together and it wrote me a note that said "Do you like me? Check Yes, No or Maybe" I would use the biggest red marker I could find and check the hell out of that "Yes" box and draw hearts all over it before handing it back.

Undertow is part mystery, part adventure, part romance.

And it's weird!

And it all really works together.

You know how we, as the advanced, sophisticated humans we like to think our selves to be, have only explored less then 10% of the ocean? Ever wonder what might be in that other 90% or so percent? I'm pretty sure Buckley did and what he came up with was pretty freaken awesome.

Somewhere in that vast sea of the unknown, live the Alpha. They are angry, rough, ugly, totally unapologetic and harder then anything to understand ocean-dwelling warriors. Or rather, they were ocean-dwelling. For reasons that are pretty explosively reveled as the book progresses, they have left their ocean homes and taken up residence on Coney Island.

If this series isn't on your wishlist, it should be. It's a YA book without a lot of the stuff that I tend to not like about YA and all of the stuff that makes YA so great.

Monday, October 5, 2015

September 2015 Wrap Up: The I'm a Broken Record and a Total Cliche Edition

Hey guys!

Guess what?

"I can't believe it's already October."

"Last month flew by so fast."

"It feels like summer just started"


Yeah -- all of that.


It totally feels like Fall here in New England and it's fabulous! Apple Cider and pumpkins and comfy socks and cozy blankets -- I freaken love it all!

Anyone else love this time of year as much as I do? :)

Now - onto the books!

Linking up again over at Feed Your Fiction Addiction :)
(so sorry for leaving out "Fiction" in my mention / link last month!)

Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs - REVIEW | 3.5 /5 Stars
The Body Electric by Beth Revis - REVIEW | 2 /5 Stars
The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine - REVIEW | 5 /5 Stars
The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble - REVIEW | 2.5 /5 Stars
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - REVIEW | 5 /5 Stars

The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow and David Ostow
Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince

Hope everyone had a great September!
Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Book Re-Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

As part of The Lunar Chronicles Read Along (#TLCReadAlong) hosted by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide, I re-read Cinder in August, and Scarlet this past month.

My re-review of Cinder can be found here.

In the same fashion, I've pulled up my first review of Scarlet, which posted in February 2013, and added in my (new) thoughts.

I don't often re-read book, so this was a bit of a treat for me!

How often do you guys re-read books?
Do you find that your feelings change after a second read?

Let's see how my 2013 thoughts compare to today's!

Book #2 of the Lunar Chronicles

Genre: YA Sci-fi Fantasy Fairy Tale
Publication: February 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
Acquisition: received an ARC for review from the publisher

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
(from Goodreads)

5 / 5 Stars
(Still a 5 star read!)

Intense and overwhelming LOVE!
(Yep! I sill love it!)

OMG this was a good book!
(Yep again!)

The combination of sci-fi, fantasy and fairy tale retelling that made Cinder such a great read is no less fantastic in Scarlet.
(Not many books can pull off this trifecta of awesome. Scarlet does it with style.)

After leaving Cinder in a less then desirable situation at the end of book 1, I was really curious as to where she would find herself next. And I really wanted to know what was up with those Lunars!
(Ug! Lunars are the worst!)

I love the relationships in this book - and not just the romantic kind. All the characters in this world are so varied and different and the connections are just as different and complex.
(This is still the main reason I love this series so much. There are romantic relationships but they are done well AND the platonic relationships are awesome - I particularly love how Cinder and Thorne interact with each other.)

With the introduction of a new set a characters and the fabulous way Meyer meshed them together with my old favorites, Scarlet was a fantastic read for me.
I could go on and on with reasons why I loved this book but I don't want to give too much away.
If you read Cinder, Scarlet is a must read. And if you haven't started this series I highly recommend you do! Don't let the premise crazy you off. Marissa has weaved a magical world full of cyborgs, androids and fairy tales that does not disappoint!
(All of this - still true. Years later, I still recommend this series! It's one of my all time favorites.)

So, again, I'm gonna say:
Still all the same happy wonderful feelings!

After 2 months I'm still having a blast with this read along. I love the way Brittany formatted the read along - where we are all reading 1 book in the series a month, leading up to the release of the final book Winter. There is even time to get the companion novel, Fairest read between books 3 and 4.

I'm even going to go the extra mile and get all the mini in between short stories read - because I love this world so much so why not!

What do you guys think about read alongs?
How about re-reads?
I was never much fond of either but I'm loving the combo :)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

Book #1 of the The Sweet Dead Life Series
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Publication: May 2013 by Soho Teen
Acquisition: Received an ARC at BEA 2012

I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.

So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.

Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her. Beatified. Literally. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that Casey didn’t survive the accident at all. He’s an “A-word.” (She can’t bring herself to utter the truth.) Soon they discover that Jenna isn’t just dying: she’s being poisoned. And Casey has been sent back to help solve the mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and father’s disappearance.
(from Goodreads)

2.5 / 5 Stars

This one was...weird? I don't even know.

I'm gonna have to say I didn't really like it much.

I wanted to like it and I did enjoy parts but once the nitty-gritty story really got going I found myself rolling my eyes more and more.

The story is implausible. And yes, I understand that almost ALL books with even a hint of the paranormal could be implausible.

With The Sweet Dead Life, it was the non-paranormal stuff I just couldn't get my head around. Family dynamics, character motivations, was all a little thin to me.

The format of chapters as diary entries threw me off too since I'm not a fan of this style unless it's done in a particular way.

There was also a big case of the MC Jenna's inability of realizing that A+B=C. It took her way too long to figure things out. Maybe it's because she's only 14? But then, her voice was much older and sometimes it wasn't young enough...if that makes any sense.

Overall, not a horrible book - but for me - the elements I didn't like outweighed the elements I did.

Wouldn't flat out not recommend this one as I do think it's another case of the 'not for me but maybe for you'....with perhaps more emphasis on that 'maybe'.

If you read it let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

All the Wishes Fit to Print: September Edition

Hello Lovelies!

Getting right to it -- here are some books I've added to my wishlist lately.

Share yours below!

The Rule of Mirrors (The Vault of Dreamers #2) by Carah M. O'Brien
February 16, 2016 by Roaring Brook Press

Didn't love love love book 1 (my review) but unanswered questions need answers.

Need by Joelle Charbonneau
November 3, 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Creepy YA thriller with social media as the 'bad guy' - sounds pretty good!

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
October 20, 2015 by Tor Books

Valente's first adult novel - a 'decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery' -- YES PLEASE!

A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
August 2015 by Chronicle Books

Reviews are all over the place on this one. It's been described as 'weird' and I'm all for that.

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
August 2015 by Corgi Childrens

I'm totally late to the part on this one and I'm pretty sure I'm buying it the next chance I get!